Tax large grocery chains in the event they rake in excessive profits, have access to more information on price movements throughout the supply chain, and put in place a mandatory and enforceable code of conduct to regulate relations between retailers and suppliers, these are the main recommendations issued by the Standing Committee on Agriculture responsible for looking into the increase in supermarket prices.
With the grocery bill soaring, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food had been mandated to undertake “a study of inflation in the food supply chain and the rising cost of groceries, while big chains are making a profit”.
The findings of the report entitled Grocery Affordability: An Examination of the Rising Cost of Food in Canada was finally tabled in the House on Tuesday.
After hearing testimony from 58 stakeholders, including the heads of major chains such as Metro, Loblaw (Maxi, Provigo) and Sobeys (IGA), between November 2022 and April 2023, the Committee presented the government with 13 recommendations “to combat the factors and impacts of food inflation”.
Among them, the MPs suggest in particular that Ottawa consider, in the event that large retailers make excessive profits, “the introduction of a tax on windfall profits applicable to large companies which fix prices in order to deter excessive increases profit margins for these products”. During their appearance before the committee, the bosses of the big chains all said that they had not taken advantage of inflation to inflate prices on the shelves.